Communication and Flexibility Key for Success
“Don’t let anyone stop engaging, and if they do, find out why. It is vital to keep the team together.” Mark Wilson, Technical Support Manager at RDM, shares his insights and advice on leading a team during the pandemic.
In the early months of 2020, people worldwide followed the guidance of their government to stay safe and remain at home to protect the lives of others. Everyone’s world changed, daily routines were disrupted, and entirely new types of pressure put on organizations, families, friends, loved ones. Millions of people started to work from home. But while some easily transitioned to changing their morning commute to a shuffle across their living room, not every job lent itself to be easily carried out from a spare room or dining table.
Just like countless other departments, RDM’s Technical Support team had to adjust to working from home.
“It was a big challenge for us to switch to working from home,’ Mark Wilson, Technical Support Manager at RDM, commented. “It was fortunate that RDM had been quick to adapt by buying all the necessary equipment to allow us to carry on our work from home when perhaps other larger organizations struggled to make that change smoothly and quickly.”
RDM’s Technical Support team remained available for customers to contact directly with any product-related question the whole time we were not allowed to work from the office, thus avoiding any possible disruption to the service provided.
“Once we could get back into the office, we only had one person in at a time,” he continued. “We had to adopt new processes to ensure everything ran smoothly, whilst keeping everyone safe in the business.”
Difficulties Beyond Procedural Concerns
But there were other challenges that weighed even greater than changing operational procedures. The effect of working in isolation for weeks or months quickly became clear after the novelty of working from home wore off.
“I think the biggest challenge for everyone was not being in the same building anymore, not having that contact throughout the day we would normally have had and feeling isolated,” Mark Wilson said. “It was also difficult to not have direct face-to-face contact with the other departments within RDM. This was something I didn’t realise was so important and pre-pandemic really took for granted.”
Communication is Key
While they were working away from the office, the team developed coping strategies that helped everyone keep their spirits up.
“I think we really stuck together as a team which helped immensely. As a manager, I made sure I stayed in contact with all my staff to make sure they were coping with their workload at home and that IT was working. It was also good to check in to keep up morale and ensure no one was struggling with their own mental health or isolation issues.”
In the future, the team will remember some of the key lessons and strategies, regardless of what the new normal might look like.
“No matter the situation, you need to keep lines of communication open and use them regularly. Even if just for a chat, it is essential that staff and team members keep up that contact.
“It is important to identify the best and most effective way to carry out a task and not be afraid to assign roles based on that. Even if it is a change to how you normally work. But it is also good to rotate staff in that case so that skills are not lost and everyone still feels like they are part of a team. Also, it’s important to keep communication regular. Don’t let anyone stop engaging and if they do, find out why and solve the problem. It is vital to keep the team together.”
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